Back to School–For Children Only—Really? In a motel ministry many of your services are geared toward children, none more so that in August—Back to School time. We spend the entire month of August making the rounds of the motels we serve, distributing backpacks to make sure the children get to start that all important first day of school with everything they need, looking and feeling “Just like everyone else”. It’s important to them and doubly so to us.
We hand out backpacks before school starts. Don’t wait until September. It will be too late to prevent an embarrassing first day for the children. A day that can shape their attitudes toward school for the entire year or even the rest of their lives if they’re shamed for not having a new backpack and all the things on the teacher’s wish list.
The children are your main focus for this activity, but sometimes they are not the only focus. Adults need backpacks too. If you have enough and if you can do it quietly, don’t cut the adults out. Many of the adults ride bicycles, the bus or even walk to work. They have to carry everything they need for the day with them. They can’t leave things in a car they don’t have and they certainly can’t make a quick trip home if they need something.
Their lives are hard, and if they’re working they are trying their best to rise above the situation they’re living in. Be the one ray of sunshine they get that day. Cut them some slack and give them a backpack if they have a good reason to have one. Do it quietly and discretely. I’ve yet to have an adult cuss me out for asking them to wait until all the children have been served. They understand.
Caution them not to make a big deal about it or tell everyone because you will never have enough to give one to every adult, after you’ve served the children. Just do you best, listen to the needs and fill the ones you can. A backpack is a simple thing to most of us. It represents a very big blessing for those who can’t afford them. Loosen up and be a blessing. You will never regret it.